Writer/Director: Jim Jarmusch
Cast: Adam Driver, Golshifteh Farahani | Drama | US | 118min
Jim Jarmusch’s Palme d’Or Cannes competition entry could be described as ‘cuddly and serene’. PATERSON has Adam Driver as the eponymous New Jersey bus conductor who cherishes pretensions as a poet. The tone is upbeat, the pacing languid in a film that plays out as a meditation on untapped creative potential.
Unremarkably, Paterson lives an ordinary and cosseted existence in a town called Paterson with his pleasant Iranian-American wife, Laura (Golshifteh Farahani), and his daily duties involve walking his English bulldog, Marvin, and taking a leisurely beer at a bar while he shoots the breeze with the locals. Does he write those musings for the London Underground, one may ask? Potentially he might, for he treasures his notebook where he scribbles down lines of poignant poetry (they are, in fact, the work of the 73-year-old Oklahoma-born poet Ron Padgett.) but he quails away from publishing them as, for Paterson, these words are a private diary. Many secret writers often blog away on the internet all day with no conscious realisation that their words could potentially go viral, read by millions, but imagine they are tucking thoughts away in the ‘soi-disant’ anonymity of the web. In some ways Jarmusch has found another way of linking his narrative to contempo audiences through through this cosy tale that is influenced by 1950s pre-counterculture.
Jarmusch pictures Paterson and Laura’s life as idyllic and stress-free. Laura is a homemaker with artistic qualities that involve plastering the interior of their place in geometric patterns.The story follows the course of one week where events are slowly repeated in a pleasant clockwork routine in this simple linear narrative that mimics a well-scanned piece of poetry. A paean to a peaceful existence, this is a film that dwells in the ordinary and in the agreeable symmetry of a life well-lived but one that never pushes the boundaries. And in our rushed and aspirational society there is a great deal to be said for both. MT
PATERSON NOW ON RELEASE AT THE GATE CINEMA AND PICTUREHOUSES
REVIEWED AT CANNES FILM FESTIVAL 11-22 May 2016